An Awami League leader of Bagmara, who possesses two small industries and ancestral property, managed to get lease of a piece of government land (Khas land), depriving the genuine landless people.
Abdur Razzak, AL general secretary of Goalkandi union, obtained lease of a five-decimal plot of land for 99 years claiming himself landless and now constructing a two-storey building on it flouting the lease contract.
Locals said Razzak has long been trying to grab the land by living in a temporary house there. After Awami League came to power, he applied for a lease of the land.
The district administration approved his prayer last May following recommendations of the Upazila Committee for leasing khas lands, headed by the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO).
At one corner of the land, bicycle mechanic Govinda runs his workshop. But he has lately been under tremendous pressure to leave the place.
He alleged that Razzak had threatened to pull down his shop if he did not pay him Tk 50,000.
"How come they [authorities] allot government land to the rich when we are the real landless people," said Govinda, who has long been running the repair shop in a tin-shed facility there.
Razzak inherits five bighas of land of his family and owns Mollah Food and Oil Ltd, an oilseed grinding mill and co-owns Padma Agro and Fisheries Ltd, a fish feed factory. He also owns a motorised local vehicle.
Asked, Abdur Razzak said, "My father posses some land, not me. I am a genuine landless man and the chairman of the Upazila Bittoheen (have-nots) Samity."
He, however, admits owning industries, but denied the allegation of demanding toll from the bicycle repairman.
Asked how such an affluent person got lease of khas land meant for the landless, Bagmara Assistant Commissioner (AC) of land Abdur Rahim said Razzak must have hidden facts in his application.
The authorities leased out lands to a total of 23 landless persons.
The union council chairman first recommended Razzak and then his application was forwarded by the upazila committee, said the AC land who is also the member secretary of the body.
Bagmara UNO SM Nazim Uddin said, "The lease was approved prior to my joining here. We are investigating the matter to see if any irregularities occurred during sanctioning of the lands."
Contacted, Goalkandi Union Council Chairman Alamgir Hossain said he recommended Razzak, as the later does not have any land of his own. Hossain, however, remained silent when asked about Razzak's financial standing.